Saturday, August 16, 2014

A few thoughts on Ferguson...

I know all the facts aren't in yet on the shooting of Mike Brown, but after everything I've seen over the past few days, especially today, I wanted to jot some things down while they were still fresh in my mind.

Whether the shooting was justified or not, we just don't know, but we do know that Mike Brown wasn't the perfect angel we were told he was.  Mike Brown committed a robbery at a convenience store not long before he was shot.  There is some confusion as to whether the cop who shot him was aware of that robbery or not, but Mike Brown certainly knew about the crime he had just committed; is it so hard to believe that Brown might have been less than cooperative, thinking he had just been caught red-handed?  ( I also heard that there are photos of Brown supposedly flashing gang signs, but once I saw how hard Pat Dollard was pushing that angle of the story, I sort of stopped caring about it. )

Knowing that Mike Brown was a criminal helps to give some context, but there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.  Did Darren Wilson have any injuries that would indicate a struggle?  Is there gunshot residue all over the inside of Darren Wilson's police car and enough residue on Mike Brown to indicate that Brown was likely shot while reaching into the car?  The bullet wounds should also indicate how far away Brown was when he was shot, and whether he was standing or kneeling when it happened.  But I have a feeling that a lot of people won't accept the outcome of any investigation that doesn't put all the blame for what happened squarely on Darren Wilson.  Too many people have an emotional attachment to the idea that the police are always the enemy and that Mike Brown has to be an innocent victim, regardless of what the evidence actually says.  And too many people are just looking for any lame excuse to riot, burn shit, steal whatever they can, and threaten to murder every cop they see, just because it feels good and they don't think the rules should apply to them.

Some people are calling on President Obama to get involved to try to calm things down.  I don't know that we should expect Obama to weigh in on this anymore than he already has.  I think in his mind he's already checked that box and doesn't want to deal with it anymore.  On the one hand, he's spent most of his political career worrying about whether he was black enough, too black, or exactly the right amount of black, which is why he attended Jeremiah Wright's church for as long as he did and then dumped that church as soon as it stopped being politically useful.  On the other hand, he loves it when crazy people are yelling crazy things at him because it makes him seem more reasonable, and the leader of the New Black Panther Party is all kinds of crazy.  But honestly, I don't really want Obama inserting himself into this, because all he can do is make it worse, just like he does with every single other thing he touches.

Update:  Wait, the DOJ tried to stop the Ferguson PD from releasing the video of the robbery?  Maybe I gave Obama too much credit.

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